Do you dream of taking better travel photos
Are your travel photos missing that wow factor? Do you wish you could capture the perfect sunset, or take a snapshot of your family with everyone in focus? Discover how to take better travel photos.
The simple key to improving your photo results is to practice, practice, practice. We’ve put together a few tips for this ‘how to’ guide to get you started in the right direction.
How to take better travel photos
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1. Pack the right Camera Gear
Travel photography is inspirational and exciting, but it’s easy to get carried away when you’re deciding what camera gear to take with you.
Pack the camera gear you feel most confident using to ensure it gives you that photographer advantage.
- Camera – I love my Sony a6000
- Pack the right lens
- Extra battery – my number one tip!
- Battery charger – don’t be caught out.
- Gorillapod – for solo travellers and couples wanting to be in their photos together.
- Tripod or Monopod – for steady shooting in low light conditions.
- Take a good quality Camera Bag to suit your gear and protect your equipment.
If you have a trip coming up which is going to give you an opportunity to get up close and personal with wildlife or see some unique and beautiful flowers, be sure to consider the lens you will need to capture the best moments of your travels.
Read next: Whats in my camera bag?
2. Plan ahead
When booking your travel, time your visit when there are events taking place if possible. For example, visit Adelaide when the festivals are on, Spain during the Running of the Bulls or when there are spiritual or religious events on. Visiting during these times can greatly expand your photo opportunities. If you stumble on a random event, follow them to find out more … and keep snapping.
Consider preparing a ‘shot list’ to help you choose you capture all the images you would like to capture on your travels But don’t forget to snap the unexpected!
If you want to showcase your destination, research well to make sure your photo is not like everyone else’s photo. Dare to be different. Catch a unique angle, feature a different perspective or show some human factor that you haven’t shown before. Create the wow factor!
3. Take Notes
Don’t forget to take notes. I try to journal the day’s events with a few notes about the experiences I had over my day whilst its fresh in my mind. I have found that if I try to rely on my memory a couple of weeks later usually means I will miss the essence of my experience. Dot point your day!
This also helps when choosing keywords and descriptions of the places, as well as the people and activities featured in your photos.
4. Beat the Crowds
Get to your location before everyone else arrives. There’s nothing worse than your best shots being photo bombed by Ma & Pa Kettle on their holiday of a lifetime.
Plan ahead, go early … chances are you’ll be rewarded with the soft light of the early morning and come away with the ‘photo of the day’.
5. Capture the People
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for any travel photographer is the confidence to ask a local if you may take their photograph. But what’s the worst that could happen? They could say ‘No’? Chances are they will smile and agree.
Take a deep breath, and ask if you can take their photo. Be polite, introduce yourself and explain what you do. As an example; say Hi I’m Ann, I’m a photographer capturing photos of your beautiful country. Would you mind if I took your photo?
If they do say “No”, just smile, thank them and move on. However, if they agree smile, thank them and take a few photos. You may like to show them your shots on the LCD monitor or send a copy to their email address.
Read next: How to be a great Street Photographer
6. Don’t under estimate the Selfie
I’m sure most of you will agree … no holiday is complete without a couple of selfies! Most of us come home from our travels with a selfie featuring a classic tourist location in the back ground.
Selfies can be fun photos and a must for your travel photo album. Its ones like these that are great source of amusement when you get home.
7. Be original with your vantage point
We’ve all seen those holiday photos with the Eiffel Tower in the background taken over and over again. Think outside the box when looking for your view point, be original.
Look up, head in the opposite direction from the crowd, or find a rooftop bar nearby and treat yourself to a wine and shoot the best sunset view in town!
In top tourist destinations it can be tricky to be original when there are so many cliché or timeless views of recognisable landmarks. It takes skill to be creative so push your boundaries.
8. Compose better travel photos
As an artist, I often make a frame out of my hands to sight the view I’m going to paint. It’s also a useful technique for photography as you can plan what you want to capture in your frame.
Look for balance, add the human factor with people in the distance to show depth and height. Consider adding a feature into the foreground for perspective. Remember, it’s likely that your best photo will be the one that breaks all the rules!
9. Be prepared for unexpected weather conditions
If it’s raining outside don’t worry. It doesn’t mean you can’t capture great photographs! Overcast days usually make great photographs as the lighting is not so stark and bright. This is especially good when shooting portraits!
We found these lovely Canadian ladies on Pier 39 in San Francisco enjoying a rainy evening after a busy day of sightseeing. One of my favourite photos of our last American adventure and I wish I had asked for their email address to send a copy!
10. Always carry your camera
I’m sure you’ve heard that the best photo is taken from the camera you have with you! If you want to be sure to capture the best photo of the day, always carry your camera with you.
This was one of the reasons I bought my Sony a6000. It was lightweight and easily fitted into my handbag. You never know when a great photo moment will arise!
11. People help tell your story
Using people in your photographs doesn’t mean a structured pose. Be creative when using people in your photos to tell your story.
Sometimes I snap someone in the distance because it tells a story. Street photography is the latest thing in photography. A random photo when you’re out people watching can be the perfect holiday keepsake. Adding the human factor can show scale or feature an activity which can add interest and perspective.
Be creative not intrusive.
12. Stay Safe
When travelling you will find most places relatively safe and the people friendly, however there will be occasions where the risk of harm or theft is higher. Take care in unfamiliar surroundings. Invest in solid luggage locks and anti-theft bags are great for travelling photographers.
The first thing you should do after booking your trip is to take out adequate travel insurance for you and your gear. Check the policy carefully to see what is covered – for example; some activities such as white water rafting or bungee jumping may be excluded. If unsure, ring the enquiry line to ask.
Do you want to know how to take better travel photos? Pin this to your travel Pinterest boards.
Good travel photos tell a story and create a picture in the viewer’s mind.
Have you read my earlier post – How to shoot awesome photos with a Sony A6000.
Do some research. Look at travel photos by professional photographers and identify what they are doing differently. How do they compose their photos? What makes their photos, great photography?